County Agent Update
April 19, 2017 | View PDF
High-quality Seed (part 2)
Last week I wrote the first section with information from the NDSU publication Selecting High-quality Seed of Cereal Grains written by Joel Ransom, Cereal Crops Agronomist. This week I am going to continue off of last weeks information, and start with the continuation of the factors to be avoided when selecting grain. Dead seed can result from frost damage, sprouting or other weather damage, high moisture during storage or diseases. Molds or fungi, even when invisible, may damage germination of grain stored at higher than recommended moisture levels. Diseased seed, even though plump and of good test weight, with dark brown, black, pink or grayish kernels, should be avoided even though these surface-borne diseases may be helped considerably by seed treatment. Shriveled grayish or pink kernels may carry disease inside and should be removed in cleaning.
Regardless of the cause, weak seeds produce weak seedlings and should not be used except in an extreme shortage of good seed. Unfavorable spring growing conditions following emergence are likely to affect seedlings from low-quality seed more than high-quality seed. Drought sufficient to cause wilting will result in many weak seedlings dying while vigorous seedlings survive. Weak seedlings can result in a thin stand and plants that grow slower, tiller less, are more easily attacked by disease and are less able to compete with weeds.
Seeding rates and depth are important factors when looking to get a good healthy stand. A good, firm seedbed is essential so the seed always will be in contact with moist soil. Plant as deep as necessary to obtain a good seed-to-soil contact. The ideal planting depth for wheat is 1.5 to 2 inches. Seed rates are usually 900,000 to 1.6 million seeds per acre. If seed is not top quality, the rate also must be increased. An option is to clean and to buy seed. Planting large, plump, good test weight, disease-free, high quality seed never results in a lower yield. If purchasing seed isn’t an option, cleaning seed will help remove the damaged kernels which will help you harvest a good healthy stand. When cleaning, the lot can shink anywhere from 20 to 50 percent, the cleanout still will have commercial value.
For the information in the articles the last two weeks please visit NDSU Extension Service publication page https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/crops/a500.pdf or call the Williams County Extension office to receive a copy at 701-577-4595.